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OKRs Help Companies Navigate the New Normal


OKRs Help Companies Navigate the New Normal

The onset of COVID-19 presented an unprecedented challenging situation – for the first time, perhaps in history, there was a universal experience shared by workers around the world. A near-collective shift took place, uprooting offices and transplanting employees to their homes. Remote work is no longer a perk that companies offer their teams, but rather a necessity.

This created and still creates, a unique challenge for many companies. Offices were considered vital to the basic operations of a company—a place where workers could convene and coordinate projects on a daily basis, retrieving answers to questions with a simple walk to a colleague’s desk. With this possibility wiped away, companies needed to adjust, and fast.

Fortunately, many have been able to transition to a digital office space with increasing utilization of online team platforms and video conferencing making it possible for companies to continue working in most industries. It’s now called the “new normal” and, globally, employees have adjusted.

Now comes a time when companies can’t simply tread water and grow complacent with this new sense of normalcy. They have to forge ahead, and progress now involves many business leaders declaring that their post-COVID-19 organizations will be completely redesigned to take advantage of all work-from-home possibilities – a trend confirmed in a recent Gartner survey of over 317 CFOs.

Historically, we know that businesses find ways to live on. Moments of economic uncertainty generate opportunities for companies to dream bigger, to set stretch goals and direct their teams toward the future with exact focus. To achieve this, it’s important that corporate objectives and the bigger picture aren’t lost in the day-to-day activities of a company.

OKRs, a goal-setting methodology that was developed by Intel’s Andy Grove, are widely used by industry-leading companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Uber, Twitter and many more. OKRs are becoming the golden standard of goal management. The structure is simple and unbelievably effective.

OKRs are comprised of objectives – meaning qualitative, inspirational, time-bound goals that direct a team, and key results – or quantitative deliverables that are used to measure the success of the objective.

To give an example, a solid objective would be “Increase User Base.” The corresponding key results that could be used to measure this objective are:

“Increase number of paid users from 4k to 10K”

“Increase outbound leads/month from 20 to 40”

Companies that choose to utilize the OKR methodology see a myriad of benefits. Five key benefits are outlined by John Doerr, another Intel alum who popularized the OKR framework. These benefits include focus, alignment, commitment, tracking and stretching.

In the context of the COVID-19 world and the new normal, these benefits become even more apparent. The OKR methodology doesn’t just organize companies, it forces them to adopt a pattern of goal prioritization and evaluation that becomes ingrained in company culture, turning abstract aspirations into concrete results.

On a corporate level, OKRs help leaders focus their hopes for the company and direct their collective efforts in the direction they want to grow. Furthermore, they provide transparency within a company, communicating the big picture that might otherwise have been a mystery to individual employees on the lowest rung of the ladder.

At an individual level, OKRs present even more benefits. No man is an island, and yet, when working from home, every employee is physically isolated and virtual communication might not be enough to make individuals feel connected to the purpose of the company. With OKRs, individuals can gain a sense of purpose and contribution, even while remote.

OKRs ask employees to take ownership of their goals, empowering employees with autonomy. Moreover, they can be aligned between company levels, either through top-down alignment, where corporate-level key results inform departmental objectives in a cascading manner, or bottom-up alignment, where team-level objectives inform departmental key results. This alignment is an integral part of the structure of OKRs and keeps a company on track.

OKR alignment doesn’t require in-person meetings or an office space to occur. It simply needs communication and foresight on the part of individuals within an organization. Employees, then, aren’t isolated and completing day-to-day tasks with no sense of purpose or larger overarching goals. When tracking OKRs, they can see how their work contributes to the organization, creating connectivity and engagement.

Another reason that OKRs are helping companies navigate business in the new normal is because the mindset of employee productivity is shifting to measuring results rather than activities. This is going to be a fundamental change post-COVID-19, as it will bring in a culture of transparency with a scoreboard being available for everyone.

Today, instead of measuring an employee’s workday by eight hours in the office, it’s measured by results and impact, rather than individual activities. This adjusted perspective on employee productivity lends itself well to the OKR methodology. In addition to looking at their results, employees are also going to look at their contribution to team, departmental and corporate goals, and will be able to see how they helped move the needle with trackable OKRs.

Navigating the new normal has presented companies with an unprecedented challenge, and in response, the OKR methodology offers up a solution that provides teams—no matter how physically distant they may be—with focus, alignment and engagement.


Bastin Gerald is the CEO and founder of, an intuitive cloud-based SaaS platform, integrating OKRs and task management plus 300 other data-driven metrics to help companies successfully implement the model and reach new heights. helps companies focus, align and engage teams for optimal productivity and company success. To learn more, visit